Sea Swimming in the Autumn

Andrew Wallace
02.10.23 09:48 AM Comment(s)

Autumn - The Best Time for Sea Swimming?

Autumn is my favourite time for swimming in the sea.

The air temperature starts dropping, but the sea temperature remains that it's warmest, which means skin swimming (swimming without a wetsuit) gets cranked to a new level where it's wonderful to feel the cold air on your skin before and after the swim, and minimise any deep cold by introducing wood fires and the likes on the beach. Having a cup of hot chocolate made on the beach with the smell of wood smoke and the sound of the ocean is just so fantastic.

Sea swimming in the autumn in Pembrokeshire
Sea swimming in the autumn in Pembrokeshire - there's nothing like it!

The autumn light is noticeably different as the air cools and becomes clearer the light takes on a new hue and the changing colors of the foliage become quite spectacular, often mixed with clear air and mix of blue and dark grey skies at the same time giving the whole feel a very dramatic effect.

Sea swimming in the autumn is a fantastic experience
There's nothing quite like those sunrise swims during the Autumn months

It's also easier to get up for sunrise swims because the days start getting shorter! No longer do you need to get up at 5:00 a.m. in order to catch the sunrise as in the summer, in the autumn you can get an extra hour in bed and go for a 7 a.m sunrise swim, or later as the months progress.

Sunrise sea swim in Autumn

There's still a lot of wildlife to see in the autumn too. In fact you may well see more than in the summer because the seals start pupping in September and October and sometimes put in an appearance offshore as they hunt fish for their newborn pups.

A sea taking a rest in Pembrokeshire

I enjoy the challenge of cold water swimming too, not only in terms of the swim itself but preparation of the kit and of how you minimise the cold after the swim. Autumn is a good chance to hone your skills that perhaps have been forgotten over the summer, dig out your winter swimming kit and start practicing exit strategies such as laying out your kit in the right order, getting a fire going in a twig stove with cold hands, and so on!

Drying out and warming up after sea swimming in the autumn
Warming up after a sea swim in the Autumn

I also love the varied weather of autumn. Within one week in September here in Pembrokeshire we had warmth and sunshine and temperatures of 25 degrees, to monsoon type rain and storms. Swim running is also great in the autumn. The cooler temperatures mean you don't opverheat and there's nothing like running long distances in autumn rain then diving straight in the ocean when it's belting down, so exhilerating!

Dramatic weather during autumn sea swimming
Dark clouds looming in during an autumn swimrun

So, grab your gear and get out for a swim in autumn! You won't regret it.

Andrew Wallace